Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Art and Place

This Saturday I attended an Art Fair in Buffalo.  The organizers have hopes to put Buffalo art on the map right along with Basel and Miami.  It took place in the city's old train station, a magnificent building of 15 stories, in a state of decay in a difficult neighborhood.  Walking through the exhibits, especially those of the photographers I noticed a common theme- pictures of Buffalo's past architectural wonders which are now in various stages of ruin.  I myself have many photos of the grain elevators lining the lake and I recognized a shot of the old Bethlehem steel plant. 
Which leads me to the question- how much does the place you live affect your art?  If I used the art fair as an indicator, I'd say quite a bit.  My own poetry has taken on shades of anger at the economic decline around me and a tinge of despair.  If I were in the bright sun of the Mediterranean, I suspect my themes would be different but perhaps the industrial decline suits my temperament.  When I close my eyes, I can still see the icy edged sidewalks of winter and we're almost in the middle of a hot July.  I remember the line of an old poem I wrote about a town in Mexico I'd visited - "with no future, but a fruitful past."  Of course, there is a future here but will it ever compare to the early 1900's? 
   Tomorrow I have the priviledge to participate in a poetry reading with John Roche.  Please check out his new book- "Road Ghosts".

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